Giants

Down on the Farm: Morse plays left, goes hitless in first rehab game

Down on the Farm: Morse plays left, goes hitless in first rehab game

Michael Morse was back on the field in a Giants uniform for the first time in nearly a month Tuesday night. Well, that is, a San Jose Giants uniform in Advanced Single-A. 

Morse, 35, began his rehab assignment after straining his hamstring rounding first base in spring training on March 20. 

“It’s really too bad for him. He was doing all he needed to do to make the club. It’s a shame,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said at the time of the injury.

Morse went 0-for-2 with a walk, a strikeout and a run scored Tuesday in San Jose as the Giants took down the Salt Lake Bees, 3-2. Most interestingly, he played left field for seven innings and caught the only ball hit his way. 

In his first at-bat back in action, Morse drew a walk and later scored on a Dillon Dobson liner to center, which also plated catcher Aramis Garcia, scoring all the Giants’ runs for the game in the first inning alone. Morse's strikeout came on a called strike three in his next time up, but he showed promise with his final at-bat. 

At the plate in the bottom of the fifth with Giants’ 2016 first-round pick Bryan Reynolds at first, Morse rocketed a line shot to third. Unfortunately, it was snagged and resulted in a double play. 

Morse was replaced defensively in the top of the eighth inning by Daniel Carbonell. 

In spring training, Morse impressed Bochy with his bat as well as his glove and fitness.

“I think, not just the way he was swinging the bat, but he was playing a good first base and I put him in the outfield,” Bochy said. “I think he was moving around well. He came into camp in tremendous shape. That should show him he still has some baseball left. Good baseball.”

Morse played in 14 games for the Giants in spring training, spending time at both first base and left field. He hit .258 with a .343 on-base percentage and .516 slugging percentage while knocking out two home runs. 

“I proved to myself that I can still play,” Morse said the day after his injury. “And I proved to myself yesterday that I’m not really a fast runner.”

The last time Morse played in the majors, he went hitless suiting up in six games for the Pirates in 2016. He also has not played in left field since 2015, where he made no errors in 35 innings for the Marlins. 

Morse proved he can still play in spring training. Now he must prove he can stay healthy to be that spark he was for the Giants again, just like back in 2014. And it all starts down on the farm in San Jose. 

Around The Horn

— Morse isn’t the only veteran outfielder for the Giants in the minors looking to make it back up to the bigs. Drew Stubbs, 32, has only played in five games for the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats and already has 10 strikeouts. He is improving though, going 4-for-10 in his last two games. Justin Ruggiano, 35, is also in the outfield mix for the River Cats. He has struggled so far, hitting only .214 with 10 strikeouts in eight games. 

— The Christian Arroyo hit parade continues in Sacramento. Arroyo belted his second home run of the season Tuesday night and now has an 11-game hit streak. At 21 years old, he is batting .442, which leads the Pacific Coast League. 

— Last week, Aramis Garcia was named to the MLB Pipeline Prospect Team of the Week. After missing much of the season injured in 2016, Garcia, 24, is hitting .341/.386/.610 with three home runs and 13 RBI in nine games. 

'Piss poor' seventh inning haunts Giants at Dodger Stadium

'Piss poor' seventh inning haunts Giants at Dodger Stadium

LOS ANGELES — The Giants put together a long rally in the top of the seventh inning Friday, scoring three runs to take a 4-2 lead. In the bottom of the inning, Matt Moore walked the leadoff hitter on four pitches. 

“You don’t deserve anything really that good after something like that,” Moore said. “That’s piss poor.”

Nothing good came after the walk, as Moore expected. That man, Austin Barnes, would come around to score. Three more Dodgers would, too. It added up to a 6-4 win for the Dodgers. For the best team in the National League, this was a familiar feeling. For the most disappointing team in baseball, the same was true. 

The Giants have played so well against the Dodgers this season, but in one inning at Chavez Ravine, they fell apart. They looked exactly like the team that has bottomed out over the last calendar year, and none of the pitchers who threw in the inning were spared. 

Moore had a good night in general, and his second half is showing signs of promise. But he was left angry with the result, and much of that anger was directed at himself. An hour after it happened, Moore was still stewing over the four pitches to Barnes and the double he gave up to Joc Pederson.

“You’ve got to make him earn his way on there,” Moore said of Barnes. “I’ve got to be better than that in the seventh.”

Moore’s night ended when Yasiel Puig entered the on-deck circle. Puig hasn’t hit lefties this year, but Bruce Bochy didn’t like the look of some pitches Moore had thrown in the inning, and he was pulled after 96 pitches. George Kontos entered and got Puig, a righty-destroyer, to hit an RBI grounder to short. Then he hung a 3-2 slider to Chris Taylor that was knocked into left for a game-tying double. 

“He’s been very good at times,” Bochy said of Kontos. “But the breaking ball that he’s left up, that’s the one that’s hurting him.”

Josh Osich was called upon and put a curveball on a tee. Corey Seager blasted it and that was that. The Giants sent Steven Okert down to the minors last weekend, leaving Osich as their lefty in the ‘pen. Bochy reiterated that he needs more from the young pair. Neither has taken hold of a long-term job since Will Smith went down to Tommy John surgery. 

“It’s their time,” Bochy said. “We need one of them to step up.”

Perhaps another reliever has. Kyle Crick struck out two in an impressive eighth, lowering his ERA to 1.88. It was an inning with less at stake, and that’s been the norm for Crick. He has pitched 12 times in the big leagues and 11 of the games have been losses. The lone win was a 9-2 blowout. 

The Giants have said they want to get Crick into higher-pressure spots. The inning before his on Friday night might have accelerated that plan. 

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants stumble in seventh vs Dodgers

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants stumble in seventh vs Dodgers

BOX SCORE

LOS ANGELES — The Giants have just about nothing to brag about this season, but coming into this weekend, they could at least hold onto the fact that they have played the Dodgers tougher than anyone else in the National League. Or, at least they *had.*

Matt Moore and the bullpen gave up a two-run lead in the seventh and wasted good work from the lineup in the top of the inning. The end came quickly. The Giants, who entered with a 6-4 record against the Dodgers, lost 6-4. 

They are 32 1/2 games behind the Dodgers. That is not a misprint. Anyway, here are five things to know from Chavez Ravine ... 

--- Bruce Bochy made an interesting decision in the seventh with two in scoring position and Matt Moore nearing 100 pitches. George Kontos entered to face Yasiel Puig, who has a .898 OPS against righties and .494 OPS against lefties. Did it work? Not really. Puig grounded out to short, but a run scored. Chris Taylor then doubled to tie the game. Josh Osich entered and gave up a two-run homer. 

--- Early on, it was a shortstop show. Lefty hitters Corey Seager and Brandon Crawford traded solo shots off southpaw starters. Crawford has seen a noticeable uptick at the plate since the All-Star break. 

--- Jae-Gyun Hwang celebrated his 30th birthday with an RBI single and mad dash home for a run in the three-run seventh. He saved another run with a diving play at third. 

--- Gorkys Hernandez drove an RBI double into center in the seventh to give the Giants a 4-2 lead. He is batting .326 over his past 32 games. 

--- Kyle Crick has pitched in only one game the Giants have won (yes, we realize they don't win often, but still). He blew through the Dodgers in the bottom of the eighth. It's probably about time Crick gets a shot to protect a lead.